An untreated bladder infection can spread to the kidneys. See your doctor right away if you have signs of a urinary tract infection. A bladder infection is generally not a medical emergency — but some people have a higher risk for complications. This includes pregnant women, the elderly, and men, as well as people with diabetes, kidney problems, or a weakened immune system. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Simple lab tests are available to distinguish a UTI from an STD.
Interstitial cystitis has many of the same symptoms as a urinary tract infection. It can happen in both men and women and can start after an UTI. Yet a cystoscopy , a thin tube and camera that is inserted into the bladder can help doctors diagnosis it. Few things can ruin a honeymoon like a UTI. But this is so common, it has its own name — «honeymoon cystitis. The reason is that sexual activity can push bacteria into the urethra. Of course, the problem is not confined to honeymoons.
Some women get a bladder infection almost every time they have sex. Women who use a diaphragm for birth control are especially vulnerable. Occasionally, UTIs occur without the classic symptoms. A person may have no symptoms at all. Yet, a urine test shows the presence of bacteria. This is known as asymptomatic bacteriuria.
In many cases, no treatment is needed. But pregnant women, some children, and recipients of kidney transplants should be treated to avoid a kidney infection. The main danger associated with untreated UTIs is that the infection may spread from the bladder to one or both kidneys. When bacteria attack the kidneys, they can cause damage that will permanently reduce kidney function. In people who already have kidney problems, this can raise the risk of kidney failure. There’s also a small chance that the infection may enter the bloodstream and spread to other organs. Many types of bacteria live in the intestines and genital area, but this is not true of the urinary system.
In fact, urine is sterile. So when errant bacteria, such as the E. Typically, bacteria travel up the urethra to the bladder, where an infection can take hold. Women are more susceptible than men, probably because they have shorter urethras. UTIs are most common in sexually active women. Men are much less likely than women to get UTIs. When it does happen, it’s often related to another underlying medical condition, such as a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate.
The first step in diagnosing a UTI is usually a simple urine test called a urinalysis. It looks for bacteria, as well as abnormal counts of white and red blood cells. The dipstick test provides quick results. Your doctor may also send urine to a lab for culture to confirm the type of bacteria. Be sure to go over the results and symptoms with your doctor. Prescription antibiotics will almost always cure a UTI.
Your health care provider may recommend drinking lots of fluids and emptying your bladder frequently to help flush out the bacteria. Kidney infections can often be treated with oral antibiotics, too. But severe kidney infections may require hospital care, including a course of intravenous antibiotics. Some women are prone to getting UTIs over and over again. If you have three or more a year, talk to your doctor about how to prevent or minimize these infections. An over-the-counter drug called phenazopyridine can help ease your pain, burning, and irritation. It also controls your need to pee frequently and urgently. It only works on your symptoms. It doesn’t cure your infection. You still need to see your doctor to make sure you get treatment to fight the bacteria that’s causing your UTI. Also, one common side effect: It turns your pee dark red or orange while you take it. People with diabetes are more vulnerable to UTIs for several reasons. First, their immune systems tend to be weaker. Second, high blood sugar can spill into the urine and encourage the growth of bacteria.